First let me tell you about my love for pharmacies. As a fan of Walgreens (sorry CVS lovers) and any other store that contains food AND makeup, my favorite stop abroad is none other than a pharmacy. I can spend hours (seriously) perusing the shelves of the three story Chinatown Walgreens. I typically leave with a $50 credit card charge along with a greeting card I will never send, new vitamins I know nothing about, a chapstick I’ll lose the next day, and an Essie nail polish.
So, when I tell you that the European pharmacy is basically heaven, trust me. A few years ago, my family and I took a trip to Paris, which is where my love affair began. Every time we’ve gone abroad, I make a point to pick up my favorite beauty, skin, and hair supplies.
Another benefit of the European pharmacy is that the pharmacists can actually treat you at the store and provide you with the medicine you will need. While traveling, there is always someone in the family who has a headache, cold, eczema, etc. which has us stopping by and picking something up. While I have about ten different things I purchase depending on the country, below are the four I’ve bought every single time. A few can be found in the US but they’re typically much pricier so I prefer to buy in bulk.
- Normaderm Triple-Action 3-in-1 Cleanser Facial Scrub Mask with Salicylic Acid and Glycolic Acid: This is my #1 favorite cleanser in the world. Yes, that is a dramatic statement but skincare is something I spend a lot of time and energy on. Not only is it a face wash, but it can be used as a mask and a scrub. I bought four while I was in Spain. They recently changed their packaging which led to me causing a bit of a scene at the first three pharmacies we stopped at (my mom will testify to that).
- Huile Prodigieuse Dry Oil: No, I can’t pronounce this and I don’t even try to. While this is sold in the US, it is MUCH more expensive and runs out of stock often. I love it because its multipurpose and is great when traveling. I mostly use it in my hair or legs after the shower. It’s great for frizz control but you have to avoid putting it on your roots or you may look greasy. Bonus: They also carry a shimmering bronzier version of the same oil which is great for a summer glow.
- La Roche-Posay Lipikar Xerand Hand Repair Cream: I’m not a huge collector of hand lotion but always have this one near by, especially in the winter. As T would say, “it smells like a Grandma, but in a good way”. It’s not greasy and the size is perfect for my work bag which are big pluses for me. I always find myself applying lotion before opening jars so quick-drying is a must.
- Biafine Emulsion: Since this is not readily available in the US, it is something I highly recommend getting on your next trip overseas. It’s sort of a cross between a lotion, burn cream, and a healing salve. It’s great for cuts, sunburn, or as a heavy duty moisturizer. I bought my tube about two years ago and it’s still going strong.